Spring is a time for renewal. Nature is waking up from its winter slumber, trees are blossoming, flowers are blooming, lambs are gambolling in the fields and the weather is perfect – not too cold and not too hot. It’s also the perfect time for a spring break or an early vacation on a relaxing and luxurious barge holiday. |
No other time of the year is quite as perfect for a cruise along some of Europe’s waterways. Italy, Germany, France, Holland - Europe is crisscrossed with rivers and canals that flow through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and close to, if not through, some of the most romantic places in the world.
Beat the Crowds, Beat the Rush and Reduce the Cost
But the weather, the views, the peace and tranquillity aren’t the only reasons for choosing a spring barge holiday. During the spring, you’ll be cruising down the Seine or the Danube well before the summer high season. The sites you’ll want to see will be less crowded so you’ll be able to enjoy them more and, prices are usually a lot lower.
Here are just three river cruises that we know you’ll love.
The Canal du Midi
Set in the south of France, the 240 km (150 mile) long Canal du Midi is beautiful the year round – but even more so as the spring begins to replace the winter. The canal, which runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Mediterranean, forms just once section of this river/canal network that joins the Atlantic to the Mediterranean.
Spring is the perfect time for a barge holiday along this stretch of water. The canal is lined by trees and shrubs, most of which are blooming after their long winter sleep. As you meander through sleepy villages, you see fields filled with red poppies and yellow mimosa and get the chance to explore some of France’s finest vineyards and sample some magnificent wines.
The Rivers and Waterways of Italy
From April to May and early June is the perfect time for a barge holiday on one of Italy’s many rivers and canals. We already mentioned that it’s less crowded with tourists and that rates are lower, but it’s also a great time to explore the many villages and towns that line the banks. You’ll experience some real Italian markets, world renowned for their fresh produce (spring is the time to taste fresh artichokes, asparagus, strawberries, and truffles), cheeses, smoked meats, wine and delicious fresh pasta!
The Canals of Holland
If there is one country that is associated with canals and barge holidays, it has to be Holland!
There is so much to see and do as you cruise along its beautifully maintained canals. World famous for its flowers and especially tulips, the canal banks are lined with field after field of tulips, all in magnificent bloom. Literally a sea of dozens of colours, waving in the wind and just waiting to be photographed.
And if we’re talking of flowers, spring is just the time a visit to the magnificent Keukenhof gardens in Lisse. The garden covers 79 acres and every square inch is teaming with the colours and smells of over seven million bulbs and flowers.
There’s so much to see and do on a barge holiday along European rivers and canals. Try it and see for yourselves.
Paul Newman is the Marketing Executive for European Waterways, the UK's most respected provider of all-inclusive, luxury barge holiday to many great destinations. Part of a team of experienced barging aficionados, Paul is first in line to endorse the perks of a slow-paced barge cruise to anyone looking for a unique holiday experience.
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